Electric buses to save money in long run’
An all-electric bus fleet will cut costs, a American expert has claimed.
Justin Locke, of sustainability group the Rocky Mountain Institute, explained: “This is not about Bermuda becoming green for the sake of becoming green.
“This is about reducing the cost of the transportation sector and reducing the costs in the electricity sector.”
Mr Locke, director of the Islands Energy Programme at RMI, was speaking after a memorandum of understanding was signed last week between the US-based sustainability organisation and the Government.
The partnership will develop a strategy to move Bermuda to an electric bus fleet “that will lay the groundwork for a full transition of the transportation sector to electric vehicles”.
A second project will look at renewable energy and ways to build a stronger power supply network.
Mr Locke said that capital investment for electric buses was higher than for diesel buses, but when maintenance and fuel costs were factored in, “over time, it’s a lower-cost investment”.
He added: “We’re not in this because we think Bermuda is emitting too much CO˛ — we’re doing this because the economics make sense.
“This is a dollars and cents move, period.”
Mr Locke said that his organisation had confirmed that at least one manufacturer made electric buses suitable for the island.
He added: “However, we believe there are a handful of additional manufacturers that can supply electrovoltaic buses to meet Bermuda’s requirements.”
He said the price tag of an electric bus was about double what Bermuda paid for conventional vehicles but that maintenance and fuel costs with electric buses were “significantly reduced”.
Mr Locke said: “Your front-end costs are high, but your operating expenses are considerably lower.”
He added: “The other thing that incorporates into your cost factor is that your diesel buses are some of the most expensive in the world.”
Mr Locke said a move from diesel to electric vehicles was “something that needs to be done”.
He added: “The feasibility of moving to electric vehicles — when we look at the whole system — the business case is there.
“What we need to do is fine-tune the details. We actually have a hypothesis that it makes sense today with existing technology.”
He added that RMI would also look at the cost factor, including the possibility of third-party finance.
Mr Locke said opposition from mechanics was a potential barrier.
He added: “That’s why it’s important that they are part of the process and that they are retooled and retrained.”
RMI has masterminded the introduction of electric buses in India and several US cities, as well as in the Caribbean.
He said that no other country had managed to introduce an all-electric bus fleet.
Mr Locke added: “If we can solve it here, at scale, not just a pilot but actually do it ... it would be a great example of Bermuda’s leadership in the world.”
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